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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster (now seeking critique)

    Note: This is still in the very early draft stages; I just need a place to put all of it, hence my making this thread already. I will remove this notice and replace it when I have reached a point where critique will be sought.

    PEACH away!

    The Ley-Line Mage
    Putting the "Land" in Outlandish

    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Base Mana Expressions Known Special
    1 +0 +0 +0 +2 2 2 Ley-Line Focus, Ley-Line Familiarity (1st), Gift of the Land I, Companion Spirit
    2 +1 +0 +0 +3 4 3
    3 +1 +1 +1 +3 6 4
    4 +2 +1 +1 +4 10 5 Gift of the Land II
    5 +2 +1 +1 +4 14 6 Ley-Line Familiarity (2nd)
    6 +3 +2 +2 +5 22 7
    7 +3 +2 +2 +5 30 8
    8 +4 +2 +2 +6 42 9 Gift of the Land III
    9 +4 +3 +3 +6 54 10
    10 +5 +3 +3 +7 70 11 Ley-Line Familiarity (3rd)
    11 +5 +3 +3 +7 86 12
    12 +6 +4 +4 +8 106 13 Gift of the Land IV
    13 +6 +4 +4 +8 126 14
    14 +7 +4 +4 +9 150 15
    15 +7 +5 +5 +9 174 16 Ley-Line Familiarity (4th)
    16 +8 +5 +5 +10 202 17 Gift of the Land V
    17 +8 +5 +5 +10 230 18
    18 +9 +6 +6 +11 262 19
    19 +9 +6 +6 +11 294 20
    20 +10 +6 +6 +12 330 21 Mastery of the Land, Ley-Line Familiarity (5th)
    Abilities: Wisdom determines how much energy a Ley-Line Mage can access from the natural world at any one time, as well as the maximum power of his Expressions. Like any other spellcaster, high Constitution and Dexterity modifiers increase a Ley-Line Mage's survivability.
    Hit Die: d6
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4+Int Modifier)*4
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4+Int Modifier
    Class Skills: Concentration, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (Dungeoneering), Knowledge (Geography), Knowledge (Nature), Knowledge (The Planes), Profession, Spellcraft, Survival
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: All simple weapons, no armor, no shields.
    Last edited by Extra Anchovies; 2014-09-30 at 09:08 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster

    <fluff>
    Adventures
    Characteristics
    Alignment
    Religion
    Background
    Races
    Other Classes
    Role
    Last edited by Extra Anchovies; 2014-09-28 at 12:48 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster

    Note: Whenever "terrain types" are mentioned, that refers to the monster environments of Forest, Marsh, Hills, Mountains, Desert, Plains, Aquatic, and Underground. Whenever "climate types" are mentioned, that refers to Cold, Temperate, and Warm.

    Expressions: Unlike wizards, who learn spells through study, and sorcerers, who gain their power by birthright, ley-line mages draw their power from the land. The natural world has fewer abilities to grant its disciples; however, each individual magical effect is much more fluid in its strength. While a wizard's fireball will function the same way each time, a ley-line mage could use one one of their powers to incinerate a storm giant, and then the next moment use it again to light a candle.

    Expressions are similar but not identical to spells. Much like spells, Expressions are not extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like abilities; they can be dispelled, they do not function in antimagic areas, they are subject to spell resistance, and they provoke attacks of opportunity unless the caster chooses to cast defensively (PHB 140).

    However, unlike spells, Expressions do not have different levels, nor do their effects vary based on the caster level of the character using them. Instead, the strength of one particular use of an Expression is based on the amount of Mana used to power it. In addition, a character may use any of their Expressions at will as long as they have at least one Mana remaining. Ley-Line Mages still have caster levels, which are used in all the normal ways that caster level is used (such as for caster level checks and for meeting feat or prestige class requirements), and are calculated as if they were any other sort of spellcaster (in most cases, a character's caster level for a certain sort of spellcasting is equal to their class level in the class or classes that grant that sort of spellcasting).

    A 1st-level Ley-Line Mage begins play with 2 Expressions known, and learns one more Expression at each subsequent Ley-Line Mage level. See Expressions, below, for a full list of Expressions and their descriptions.

    Mana is the fuel for a ley-line mage's arcane power. Instead of being memorized from a book or drawn up from internal sources, mana is collected from the natural world around a ley-line mage. A ley-line mage also does not need to get a full night's sleep to refresh their supply of magical energy; instead, their pool of mana slowly refreshes on its own (however, a good night's sleep is still a nice thing to get).

    When a Ley-Line Mage uses an Expression, they expend Mana to do so. The maximum amount of mana a Ley-Line Mage may expend on one use of an Expression is equal to their class level plus their Wisdom modifier (for example, a 4th-level Ley-Line Mage with a Wisdom score of 17 cannot spend more than 7 Mana on any one use of an Expression). Some Expressions can also be used without expending Mana; see the individual Expressions descriptions for more information.

    A Ley-Line Mage has a maximum mana total equal to the amount indicated in Table 1 plus the amount of Bonus Mana they receive. Bonus Mana is granted based on class level and Wisdom modifier; Table 2 lists the exact amounts of bonus mana granted for each combination of Wisdom score and class level.

    Instead of needing 8 hours of rest like most spellcasters, a Ley-Line Mage regains 1 Mana for each full minute they spend engaging in very light activity (such as sleeping, resting, eating, riding in a carriage, casually conversing, and other mostly sedentary tasks). They also gain this benefit while engaging in light activity (such as walking, but not hustling) in any of the terrains which they have chosen for their Ley-Line Familiarity class feature (see below).

    Ley-Line Familiarity: They way in which magic flows from the land can vary greatly from location to location, and thus a ley-line mage must learn how to get by in a wide variety of places. At first level, fifth level, and every five levels thereafter (again at 10th, 15th, and 20th), a Ley-Line Mage chooses a terrain type from this list: Aquatic, Desert, Forest, Hills, Marsh, Mountains, Plains, and Underground. While they remain in each terrain type a Ley-Line Mage has chosen for Ley-Line Familiarity, the Ley-Line Mage gains a +2 bonus on Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills. They also receive a +2 bonus on Knowledge (Nature) checks regarding those environments, or on Knowledge (Dungeoneering) if they have chosen Underground. The climate type (warm, temperate, or cold) does not matter for these checks; a Ley-Line Mage with Forest Familiarity receives the +2 bonus in cold (coniferous) forests, temperate (deciduous) forests, and warm forests (jungles).

    In addition, each terrain type grants the +2 bonus on one additional skill:
    Aquatic: Swim
    Desert: Balance
    Forest: Move Silently
    Hills: Tumble
    Marsh: Jump
    Mountains: Climb
    Plains: ???
    Underground: Hide

    Ley-Line Focus: Although they are well-versed in the traits of numerous terrains, there is always one landscape that a ley-line mage has a special connection to, usually the sort in which they were raised or where they discovered the first secrets of ley-line magic. In addition to choosing a terrain type for Ley-Line Familiarity at 1st level, a Ley-Line Mage must also choose a climate type (warm, temperate, or cold); the chosen climate type, combined with their chosen terrain, is their Ley-Line Focus. For example, the first-level ley-line mage Radagast chooses Forest Familiarity and the Temperate climate type; thus, he has a Temperate Forest focus. This focus cannot be changed except by a miracle or wish spell, cast on a willing Ley-Line Mage (who must pay the same XP cost as the caster of the spell).

    When in the terrain type associated with their Ley-Line Focus (regardless of climate), a Ley-Line Mage recovers one additional mana per minute of rest or light activity (for example, Radagast, with his Temperate Forest Focus, will regenerate two mana per minute of rest or light activity when in any forest terrain). They also recover one additional point of mana when in a terrain with which they have Ley-Line Familiarity that also has the same climate type as their Ley-Line Focus. For example, if Radagast reaches fifth level and chooses Mountains for his second Ley-Line Famliarity, he will regenerate two mana per minute of rest/light activity in any forest, three per minute in any temperate forest, and one per minute in any cold mountains. In all other terrain he regenerates one mana per minute, but only while engaging in less than light activity.

    Finally, the skill bonuses granted by the Ley-Line Familiarity ability are doubled when a Ley-Line Mage is in the terrain type chosen for the ability at first level. If they are in an area with both the terrain type and they climate type of their Ley-Line Focus, the bonuses are instead tripled. Radagast, at fifth level, would receive +4 on the appropriate skills in forest terrain, +2 in mountain terrain, and +6 in temperate forests.

    Gift of the Land is the main reason for Ley-Line Focus. Each stage will grant some sort of ability relating to the terrain type chosen at 1st level (e.g. darkvision, tremorsense, maybe a burrow speed for Underground; swim speed and water breathing for Aquatic; poison/disease resistance for Marsh; etc.). Currently seeking suggestions for what these should be.

    Companion Spirit will be akin to a familiar, with the exact nature of the spirit depending on the chosen Ley-Line Focus. Possibly adaptations of Mephits?
    Last edited by Extra Anchovies; 2014-10-01 at 02:02 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster

    Reserved for Gift of the Land ability descriptions. More reserved posts to come.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster

    Expressions
    Note 0: Special thanks to Eno Remnant for suggesting the name of "Expressions"!
    Note 1: I'm open to any and all suggestions for other Expressions to add, with a goal of having around 25 or 30 to choose from. I've fully fleshed out the first one already, to give a sense of what they'll be like, but the rest are just concepts for now. Basically anything that can be easily scaled is fine; I plan for mana expenditure to affect pretty much anything that would normally be CL-based (damage dice, duration, etc).
    Note 2: the exact appearance of each of these abilities is, unless otherwise noted, up to the player to decide (with DM approval).

    Bolt: This Expression creates a ray of energy to damage foes. This ray deals 1 point of damage of the default energy type (see Special, below) with a range of Close.
    Default Mana Cost: 0
    Additional Mana Costs:
    • X Mana to change damage to Xd6
    • 1 Mana to deal a non-default basic energy type (if the damage is not increased beyond the minimum of 1 point, changing the energy type instead costs 0 mana)
    • 3 mana to deal Sonic damage
    • 5 Mana to deal Force damage
    • 2 Mana to increase range to Medium
    • 2 Mana to ignore SR
    • 1 Mana to change from ray effect to untyped area effect
    Special: When this Expression is learned, the character learning it must choose one of the four basic energy types (acid, cold, electricity, and fire). The chosen type is the default energy type. Using this Principle to deal damage of other types usually requires expenditure of additional mana.

    Blast: cone-shaped area damage

    Burst: spread-effect area damage

    Bleed: melee touch single-target damage

    Jump: short-range teleportation

    Lift: telekinesis

    Ward: resistance bonus to saving throws

    Knack: bonus to next skill check

    Restore: healing (plus removal of other conditions and/or ability damage for higher mana costs)

    Make: create objects; make more complex/permanent items for higher mana costs

    Unmake: destroy objects a la disintegrate; can target creatures for higher mana costs

    Negate: dispel, probably at 1 Mana/+1 on dispel check, with other costs for area/counterspell

    Enhance: This Expression imbues a touched weapon, suit of armor, or set of clothing with magical power, making it more effective in battle. This Expression cannot be used without expending Mana. Sets of clothing with enhancement bonuses grant that bonus as an armor bonus to the wearer's Armor Class, but the clothing does not count as armor (and thus a Monk may benefit from this ability and their AC Bonus class feature at the same time)
    Mana Costs:
    • 1 Mana for each hour of duration
    • 1 Mana for each point of enhancement bonus conferred (maximum bonus of +1 per four caster levels, rounded up)
    Special: This Expression can be used to affect multiple objects of the same type. Affecting a second object increases the Mana cost by one-half the amount of mana required to grant one item the desired enhancement bonus for the desired duration (for example, granting one weapon/suit of armor/set of clothing a +2 bonus for four hours costs 6 mana, and granting two items +2 enhancement bonuses for three hours costs 9 mana). Affecting additional objects beyond two increases the Mana cost by one-fourth the cost to enhance one item, rounded alternately up and down (thus, giving three items +2 enhancement bonuses for four hours costs 11 mana, four +2 items with four-hour durations would cost 12 mana, five costs 14, and so on).
    Last edited by Extra Anchovies; 2014-09-30 at 09:14 AM.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster

    Reserved for any ideas I have for feats, or other rules that bear mentioning but don't fit anywhere else. This is the final reserved post.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster (now seeking critique)

    I'm now at the stage where constructive criticism would be appreciated. PEACH away!

    ETA: (Sorry about all the reserved posts and for uploading it before I actually wrote out most of the class features; I've had these ideas bouncing around my head for a few days and just had to let them out)
    Last edited by Extra Anchovies; 2014-09-28 at 01:19 AM.
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster (now seeking critique)

    Not sure how different you want the gifts to be. I think it would be nice have some form of improved senses for each terrain, movement, resistance to the dangers of the climate, empathy/diplomacy bonuses to creatures from that region, combat bonuses within that area or against creatures in the area (though that might be too ranger-like.) Desert could be Heat Sense. Water could be be blindsight or blindsense with a greater range than the others (since sound travels further in water)

    Edit: What about a Shape Principle that allows you to fabricate terrain materials or even Create (different principle maybe)
    Last edited by MagBas; 2014-09-30 at 02:45 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster (now seeking critique)

    For alternative names to Principles, may I suggest:
    Channels
    Aspects
    Effusions
    Expressions

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster (now seeking critique)

    Quote Originally Posted by MagBas View Post
    Not sure how different you want the gifts to be. I think it would be nice have some form of improved senses for each terrain, movement, resistance to the dangers of the climate, empathy/diplomacy bonuses to creatures from that region, combat bonuses within that area or against creatures in the area (though that might be too ranger-like.) Desert could be Heat Sense. Water could be be blindsight or blindsense with a greater range than the others (since sound travels further in water)

    Edit: What about a Shape Principle that allows you to fabricate terrain materials or even Create (different principle maybe)
    Thanks for the suggestions about the Gifts! I definitely want them to be noticeably powerful, because they're meant to be what distinguishes two Ley-Line Mages from one another. I'll definitely keep the suggestions in mind.

    Also, I was sort of toying with the idea of an object-creation Principle; maybe something that creates ordinary matter for short periods of time, with extra Mana expenditure increasing the duration/making it permanent. I'll add the concept to the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eno Remnant View Post
    For alternative names to Principles, may I suggest:
    Channels
    Aspects
    Effusions
    Expressions
    Thank you! I think I'll go with Expressions, now they don't sound nearly as academic.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster (now seeking critique)

    Here are some additional notes I took on the class:

    Adventures: For whatever reason, when I first read the Mana mechanics and the examples I imagined a Mage sitting in a carriage with some kind of nobleperson who they’d been chatting to, and when the carriage stopped the nobleperson asked “Are you ready?” and the Mage replied “I got back all the Mana I used up in that last fight on the ride here. I was ready ten minutes ago.” Not really relevant, but I can’t really think of anything to say for adventures.

    Alignment: Not usually Lawful or Evil, though both are possible. Lawful and Evil seem like they’d get in the way of a Ley-Line Mage’s connection with the land, because lawfulness would be restricting and evil… well, there’s a reason you see more Blighters than evil Druids.

    Religion: Gods of nature, magic, contemplation, wisdom, etc.

    Background: I’m almost seeing a hippie culture origin – I would imagine Ley-Line Mages tend to have been born into societies of Druids, Rangers and other Ley-Line Mages, living out in nature and protecting it. I can see it going other ways, but that’s what’s sticking…

    Races: Elves are a given. Humans, naturally, and Gnomes, but few Dwarves (though maybe Dwarves would just focus on Mountains). Some Planetouched and Fey would seem to naturally gravitate towards this kind of magic too.

    Other Classes: The way they gain their powers makes me feel like they’d have a good relationship with Druids, while Wizards and Clerics would probably consider their power to be somewhat esoteric, making them an oddity to be studied or avoided. Fighters and Barbarians, of course, don’t care; a caster is a caster, so long as they can blow things up they’re good in a warrior’s book.

    Role: Back line caster. ‘Nuff said.

    Climate types: After a second look through the class, I realised you hadn't mentioned them. Any idea how you’ll implement them?

    Ley-Line Familiarity: +2 to a related skill (Stoneworking for Mountains is an idea, go all Dwarf on it) and a maybe a small enhancement to any Expression that involves that terrain type similar to +1 caster level?

    Ley-Line Focus: I feel like it’d be a better idea to make this an actual focus. Making a player choose to focus solely on one terrain type can be good for mechanics, roleplaying, etc. It lets your Mage have a ‘home field’ as it were, where they have all the advantages over their enemies.

    Gift of the Land: Doesn’t really need to change in base concept after my suggestion for Ley-Line Focus, since it’s only applying to one terrain type anyway. You just need to keep in mind the average levels most classes get the kinds of things you’re suggesting so that you can keep more or less in line with that, or maybe slightly earlier.

    Companion Spirit: "A primordial aspect of the land itself", it could be an incorporeal ball of magical energy that can provide limited Spell-Like Abilities related to the terrain they come from as well as skill bonuses, etc., and more substantial abilities when in their ‘home’ terrain (Stone to Mud and Mud to Stone in Mountains, for example).

    Expressions: First, you used one of my names . Second, after looking at Bolt, I was concerned by your use of energies. Nothing wrong with the energies, of course, but look at your original concept. Right here is a perfect opportunity to apply climate types (Cold = Cold, Temperate = ?, Warm = Fire), or maybe you could apply the terrain types somehow, making your Ley-Line Familiarity affect the default energy you project.
    Last edited by Eno Remnant; 2014-10-01 at 03:43 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Ley-Line Mage - A non-Vancian arcane caster (now seeking critique)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eno Remnant View Post
    Here are some additional notes I took on the class:

    Adventures: For whatever reason, when I first read the Mana mechanics and the examples I imagined a Mage sitting in a carriage with some kind of nobleperson who they’d been chatting to, and when the carriage stopped the nobleperson asked “Are you ready?” and the Mage replied “I got back all the Mana I used up in that last fight on the ride here. I was ready ten minutes ago.” Not really relevant, but I can’t really think of anything to say for adventures.

    Alignment: Not usually Lawful or Evil, though both are possible. Lawful and Evil seem like they’d get in the way of a Ley-Line Mage’s connection with the land, because lawfulness would be restricting and evil… well, there’s a reason you see more Blighters than evil Druids.

    Religion: Gods of nature, magic, contemplation, wisdom, etc.

    Background: I’m almost seeing a hippie culture origin – I would imagine Ley-Line Mages tend to have been born into societies of Druids, Rangers and other Ley-Line Mages, living out in nature and protecting it. I can see it going other ways, but that’s what’s sticking…

    Races: Elves are a given. Humans, naturally, and Gnomes, but few Dwarves (though maybe Dwarves would just focus on Mountains). Some Planetouched and Fey would seem to naturally gravitate towards this kind of magic too.

    Other Classes: The way they gain their powers makes me feel like they’d have a good relationship with Druids, while Wizards and Clerics would probably consider their power to be somewhat esoteric, making them an oddity to be studied or avoided. Fighters and Barbarians, of course, don’t care; a caster is a caster, so long as they can blow things up they’re good in a warrior’s book.

    Role: Back line caster. ‘Nuff said.
    Nice! I'll definitely consider including this stuff. Not sure if I want them to get along with druids, though; I was thinking it might be cool for there to be a bit of a rivalry, because they both get magic from nature but in different ways.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eno Remnant View Post
    Climate types: After a second look through the class, I realised you hadn't mentioned them. Any idea how you’ll implement them?

    Ley-Line Familiarity: +2 to a related skill (Stoneworking for Mountains is an idea, go all Dwarf on it) and a maybe a small enhancement to any Expression that involves that terrain type similar to +1 caster level?

    Ley-Line Focus: I feel like it’d be a better idea to make this an actual focus. Making a player choose to focus solely on one terrain type can be good for mechanics, roleplaying, etc. It lets your Mage have a ‘home field’ as it were, where they have all the advantages over their enemies.

    Gift of the Land: Doesn’t really need to change in base concept after my suggestion for Ley-Line Focus, since it’s only applying to one terrain type anyway. You just need to keep in mind the average levels most classes get the kinds of things you’re suggesting so that you can keep more or less in line with that, or maybe slightly earlier.

    Companion Spirit: "A primordial aspect of the land itself", it could be an incorporeal ball of magical energy that can provide limited Spell-Like Abilities related to the terrain they come from as well as skill bonuses, etc., and more substantial abilities when in their ‘home’ terrain (Stone to Mud and Mud to Stone in Mountains, for example).

    Expressions: First, you used one of my names . Second, after looking at Bolt, I was concerned by your use of energies. Nothing wrong with the energies, of course, but look at your original concept. Right here is a perfect opportunity to apply climate types (Cold = Cold, Temperate = ?, Warm = Fire), or maybe you could apply the terrain types somehow, making your Ley-Line Familiarity affect the default energy you project.
    Thanks for all of the feedback! I finally got around to typing up what I was thinking for Ley-Line Familiarity and Ley-Line Focus, and included the slight variance in skill bonuses and included climate types into the Ley-Line Focus. Gift of the Land I'm still procrastinating, but I have been thinking more about Companion Spirit, and have decided that maybe they should get something along the lines of a mephit? I know there's a lot of mephits, so it should be easy enough to come up with one for each of the 24 different climate/terrain combos (may have to be some repeats).

    That's a good point about energy damage, I'll try to think about which terrain(s) each element would correspond to.
    Last edited by Extra Anchovies; 2014-10-01 at 02:07 PM.
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